Be Astonished

Our world elevates one person after another, encouraging us to devote our hearts to them: sports heroes, movie stars, political leaders. Most come quickly, living their fifteen minutes of fame and then forgotten.

 

Few have held the imagination of the world over the past two thousand years like Jesus. Who was he, exactly? What gave his words and actions such power and authority? Why does he have so many followers twenty centuries later?

It’s easy to draw conclusions about Jesus based on those who say they follow him -without ever exploring what he said and did.

 

The Gospel of Mark was the first biography written about Jesus, recorded just a few decades after his death. It gathers under one cover some of the most amazing things Jesus said and did – and captures the impact Jesus had on the crowds who listened to him.

 

One of Mary Oliver’s poems is called “Instructions for Living a Life.” Here it is in its entirety:  

Pay attention.
Be astonished.
Tell about it.

 

Astonishment is the consistent response to Jesus from beginning to end. There are eight different expressions for amazement or being astounded in Greek; Mark uses all eight of them.

 

In chapter one, at the start of his ministry, we’re told the people are amazed by the authority of his teaching and healings. At the end of his ministry we see the same: in chapter fifteen we learn Pilate was astonished by Jesus during his trial and in chapter sixteen the women are startled to discover an empty tomb. Astonishment is the thread that runs through Mark’s entire narrative.

 

In this sermon series we’ll explore some of the primary passages in Mark’s gospel where his words and his actions inspire awe and amazement. The first part of the series focuses on the amazing, miraculous, awe-inspiring things Jesus did. This culminates in the events of the last week of his life when he laid down his life for us and then rose again. The second half of the series focuses on the amazing, life-changing things Jesus said.

 

When we see his amazing deeds and hear his amazing words, whether for the first time of the hundred-and-first, we, too, will be moved to wonder. Open Mark’s gospel with us, pay attention - and be astonished.

The Astonishing Things He Did

 

February 4    His Authority Over Illness and Sin

Mark 2:1-12

 

February 11  His Authority Over the Natural World

Mark 4:35-41

 

February 18  His Authority Over the Demonic World

Mark 5:1-20

 

February 25  His Authority Over Death

Mark 5:21-43

 

March 3 (Missions Sunday)   His Authority as the Promised Messiah - Jose Luis Federico Pech Polanco (which He shares with His followers as He sends them out in His name)  

Mark 6:1-13

 

March 10    His Authority Over the Abyss

Mark 6:45-56

 

March 17     His Authority as the Divine Son

Mark 9:1-27

 

March 24 (Palm Sunday)          The Triumphal Entry

Mark 11:1-33

 

March 28 (Maundy Thursday) The Last Supper

Mark 14:12-72

 

March 29 (Good Friday)            The Crucifixion

Mark 15:1-47

 

March 31 (Easter)                       The Resurrection

Mark 16:1-8

The Astonishing Things He Said

 

April 7      About Himself

Mark 2:13-3.6

 

April 14     About the Kingdom

Mark 4:1-32

 

April 21    About the Heart

Mark 7:1-23

 

April 28     About the Way of the Cross

Mark 8:22-38

 

May 8        About the Life of a Servant

Mark 9:33-37 and 10:35-45

 

May 12      About Children

Mark 10:13-16

 

May 19      About Riches

Mark 10:17-31

 

May 26     About Priorities

Mark 12:28-34